The Horror Movie Halloween Costumes That Will Terrify Your Friends

As much as we all love the delightful camp that is Hocus Pocus, it's horror movies and Halloween that really go hand-in-hand. There's even an entire slasher franchise named after the very holiday. If there's one day to embrace your spookier side, it's October 31.

Yet, in a world where popular Halloween costumes tend to reflect the pop culture moment du jour (like you don't know a couple who is already planning on a Justin and Hailey Bieber costume this year) it's easy to forget that some of the best costumes come from scary movies themselves. Sure, you could dress up as Wonder Woman, or Nicki Minaj, or even Stormi Webster, but would that really be in the spirit of such a spooky holiday?


No. It would not.

Fortunately, there's an entire library of scary movies perfect for picking your next Halloween costume from. Whether you're a scream queen seeking a feminist icon to channel, or someone who would rather play a monster themself, the horror genre has a costume for everyone. Which selection will you make? Click through to weigh your options.

The Festival Crew,



Wearing a flower crown may have once symbolized Coachella festival girl, but no more. This Halloween, pair it with a long white dress to give your friends major death cult vibes.
Photo: Universal/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock


The Birds


Tippi Hedren's character was sort of the Paris Hilton of her time, and this socialite has a fierce wardrobe. Her pea-colored, matchy-matchy outfit is truly iconic, and it's your choice if you want to attach fake birds to it or not.
Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock


Friday the 13th


How did a very small boy who drowned in Crystal Lake because he was unable to swim become the immortal serial killer from this slasher franchise? Who's to say! Load up on layers, slap on a hockey mask, and wield a (rubber) knife to master this look. You could cover yourself in mud and pond scum, too, but... I think people will get it if you don't.
Photo: Warner Bros/Hawk Films/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

The Grady Sisters,

The Shining


Fun fact: These girls are not actually twins. They're not even really related. Grab a friend and hit up a vintage shop to attempt to replicate the blue-and-white dresses worn by the little girls in Stanley Kubrick's classic. Whether you douse yourself in blood after is optional — but don't forget the bows!
Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock

Freddy Krueger,

A Nightmare On Elm Street


Yes, Robert Englund's horror icon is a child murderer, but he is a child murderer with excellent sweater game, and therefore makes for quite the costume. Hit up a Halloweens store for a mask, (or, you know, be incredibly talented at prosthetics) in order to replicate Freddy's burned face. Given the knives for fingers of it all, this is not the thing to wear if you're hoping to open lots of fun-sized candy bars.
Photo: Orion/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Clarice Starling,

Silence of the Lambs


Maybe you're a Very Serious Professional and you want a costume that says as much. Jodie Foster's iconic FBI agent wears a very tailored suit and a very '90s haircut. Get a pal to dress up as Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter: All you need for that transformation is an orange jumpsuit and human muzzle.
Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock

The Candyman,



How do you feel about attaching fake bees to your face? That will let you know whether or not you can handle portraying Tony Todd's titular character. The fur-trimmed jacket and hook for a hand completes the look.
Photo 12/Alamy Stock Photo




If you get a kick out of no one knowing who is underneath your costume, then the Ghostface mask from the Scream franchise is an obvious choice. Pretty much every costume shop has this mask and outfit on hand, so it's also a great last-minute choice for when you need something new and spooky to wear to your next party.
Photo: Universal/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock


The Bride of Chucky


Even if you don't remember this Katherine Heigl movie, you likely do remember Jennifer Tilly's leather platinum blonde doll/murderess Tiffany. Chucky (Brad Dourif) may be the more iconic doll here, but Tiffany's the one with the fierce look: A satin dress, leather jacket, and lots and lots of eyeliner are all you need to dress up like the doll. Oh, and don't forget that wig.
Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock


The Ring


Daveigh Chase's creepy character is so angelic in appearance, of course she's murdering people via videotape. All you need for this costume is a long white dress and a wig of straight brown hair that you can easily drape over your face for maximize the freak out factor.
Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock

Jigsaw's Little Buddy,



One Halloween, one of my high school classmates rode the halls in a tricycle as this demented doll. You don't necessarily have to be that extra (though honestly, why would you pass up the opportunity to ride a tricycle?) as carefully-crafted face paint, a wild wig, and a three-piece suit will also do the trick. Don't forget the accessories, like silk gloves and a red bow-tie!
Photo: Causeway/Smoking Gun Prods./Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

The Babadook,

The Babadook


There are a million ways to dress up as this inexplicable queer icon, but the easiest way is to paint your face white and wear the character's signature top hat and cloak. Just ask screenwriter Katie Dippold.
Photo: Warner Bros./Photofest




It hit theaters in September of 2017, so it got a lot of love in the costume department — pretty much everyone wanted to be Bill Skarsgard's Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The clown is an excellent costume, sure, but so is Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), whose costume is also far simpler for those intimidated by Pennywise's face makeup. Simply grab a raincoat, a red balloon, and a great pair of galoshes.
Photo: Courtesy of A24 Films

Charlie from



Milly Shapiro truly gave us alllllll the creeps this year as the clucking, pigeon-beheading, 13-year-old. The best part of this costume is that it's also seriously cozy. Just wear a bright orange sweatshirt, jeans, and tuck a fake bird head in your pocket. (If you can get your partner to actually dress up like the pigeon, more power to you.)
Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures




Sure, Michael Myers' iconic creepy mask makes for an easy Halloween costume , but why not give some love to Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie this year? Curtis will reprise her role in the 2018 sequel to the 1978 film of the same name, and she's rocking a cool survivalist outfit that puts Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) to shame.

Shop Spooky Town

Nothing's scarier than a last-minute costume scramble. Click on over to Spooky Town now and shop our editors' curated collection of Halloween outfits and accessories. We even included some tasty treats!
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